Champions Trophy 2017 May 27, 2017

Big hitters, young guns, wrist spin and pace

ESPNcricinfo correspondents pick out their names to keep an eye on at the Champions Trophy
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Chris Lynn

Age 27, Right-hand batsman: 16 ODI runs at 16.00

Will #Lynnsanity hit the Champions Trophy? © Cricket Australia/Getty Images

Chris Lynn is a six machine whose greatest challenge is staying on the scene. In the past three years, no player has smashed more sixes across all formats in Australia than Lynn's 94, but the truly remarkable part of this feat is that during that time he hasn't played a single match in Australia's domestic one-day competition. The Matador Cup is a standalone tournament at the start of the Australian summer, and Lynn has suffered serious shoulder injuries shortly before the beginning of each of the past three home seasons. Thus, he has not played a one-day game for his state since 2013, and his only 50-over experience since then has come for Australia A. At least, until he made his ODI debut at the Gabba in January. Then came a neck injury, a productive start to the IPL, another shoulder injury, and a productive return to the IPL. And now Lynn finds himself a potentially key member of Australia's batting order for the Champions Trophy, in the format with which he is least familiar. Still, Lynn's ability to turn a limited-overs match in quick time - he once struck five consecutive sixes off a Ben Hilfenhaus over in the BBL - may well be transferable to the 50-over version.

Key stat
94 - The number of sixes Lynn has hit in BBL history. He is comfortably the tournament's all-time record holder: Aaron Finch is second with 56 sixes.
Brydon Coverdale

Hardik Pandya

Age 23, Allrounder: 160 ODI runs at 53.33, Nine ODI wickets at 32.88

Hardik Pandya could be the missing piece in the jigsaw for India © BCCI

You must know about the man who hoards ICC trophies, and his successor who chases targets with a fury somewhere between a jungle cat and a heat-seeking missile of doom. You might also remember the last time this Indian opener came back from injury, he made the highest score in ODI history. But have you seen Hardik Pandya yet? He has the backing of MS Dhoni (his first captain), Virat Kohli (his current captain) and Rohit Sharma (his IPL captain) because he hits big and he hits the deck hard. Pandya is one of only two players below the age of 27 in the squad and, if he goes well, he could be what India are looking for to complete their ODI team - someone who can clear the boundary from ball one. In January , he walked out to bat against England in the 47th over and began his innings with a four and six. He finished 19 off 9, his team won by 15 runs. Three days later, on a pitch that wouldn't have looked out of place in Headingley, he made his first half-century, in a losing cause. Known for being a show-off, he'll want to do better with much of the world watching.

Key stat
Among those who have faced at least 100 balls for India in ODIs, Pandya's strike-rate of 119.40 is the second-highest, behind his team-mate Kedar Jadhav's 121.55.
Alagappan Muthu

Mark Wood

Age 27, Right-arm fast bowler: 15 ODI wickets at 42.66

Eyes will always be on Mark Wood's fitness © Getty Images

The statistics (15 wickets in 13 ODIs) look unremarkable, but Mark Wood's pace provides some bite and variation to an England attack that can look just a little one-paced. Good enough - and quick enough - to have Joe Root admitting he looked as if he were "batting with my hands and feet on backwards" after the T20 Blast semi-final in which he took four wickets, Wood has the skill to bowl with the new ball or offer a threat once it is older and softer. It's no secret that England's batting is their stronger suit but, with Wood, and perhaps Liam Plunkett, England might also have the bowling power to make batting line-ups work harder on the fine surfaces anticipated for the Champions Trophy.

Key stat
3 - The number of ankle operations Wood has undergone in the last 18 months. Had he been fully fit, he would surely be a first choice pick in all three formats.
George Dobell

Babar Azam

Age: 22, Right hand batsman: 1322 ODI runs at 55.08

Babar Azam has been a batting shining light for Pakistan © AFP

Pakistan's batting production line seems to have dried up long ago, with a middle order that used to boast Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan having gone conspicuously barren. Batsmen have come in, Pakistan have made do, and said batsmen have gone out, only for the process to continue to repeat itself. But in Babar Azam, they appear to have found a special talent that most Pakistan fans had lost hope of unearthing in their own country. At 22, he appears to have the lot to prosper at ODI level - a mature mind, a modern strike rate, an astronomical average, and that rare quality among Pakistani batsmen: consistency. Three consecutive hundreds against West Indies last year brought his talents to wider attention, and impressive numbers in Australia even as his side lost the ODI series 4-1 meant he has continued to cement his status as one of the world's most exciting youngsters. With just 122 runs in five ODIs, he was disappointing in England last year. But he has become a much better player since, and will be eager to make amends in what will be the biggest tournament of his young career so far.

Key stat
Babar is the joint-fastest player to 1000 runs in ODI history. He took 21 innings to get there, the same number as Viv Richards, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Quinton de Kock.
Danyal Rasool

Morne Morkel

Age 32, Right-arm fast bowler: 181 ODI wickets at 24.60

Morne Morkel brings vast experience to South Africa's attack having recovered from injury © Getty Images

Morne Morkel's limited-overs career seemed to end at the 2015 World Cup semi-final, where he crumpled to the floor in inconsolable disappointment after South Africa's dramatic defeat. He only played in nine ODIs in the 16 months after that and was left out of the 2016 World T20 squad before sustaining a back injury that threatened to force him into premature retirement. A lengthy rehabilitation period culminated in Morkel playing two List A games for his domestic franchise, Titans, in the latter part of the home summer before being picked for the Test leg of South Africa's tour to New Zealand in March, where he made a stirring comeback. Morkel was not only the quickest bowler in the South African pack, but also their most successful seamer. He bowled with renewed focus, increased aggression, impressive variety and excellent control. That performance resulted in Morkel being included in South Africa's Champions Trophy squad despite not playing an ODI in almost 12 months, since the triangular tournament in the Caribbean in June 2016. With Dale Steyn out injured and Kyle Abbott having become a Kolpak player, Morkel may find himself tasked with opening the bowling alongside Kagiso Rabada as South Africa look to end their major tournament trophy drought.

Key stat
Of the bowlers South Africa have at their disposal in the Champions Trophy, Morkel is the country's leading wicket-taker. He needs five scalps to leapfrog Dale Steyn and 27 more to rack up 200 ODI wickets for South Africa.
Firdose Moonda

Trent Boult

Age 27, Left-arm pace bowler: 87 ODI wickets at 24.85

World Cup reprisal: can Trent Boult start at another one-day tournament? © AFP

Extra pace, a wristspinner, or a different angle. Those are the attributes that a captain is looking for in a one-day attack where wicket-taking is often the only way to slow the scoring. Trent Boult ticks that last category as one of the premier left-armers in the world. He is the leader of New Zealand's attack - a more consistent performer than Tim Southee - and at 27 should be coming into his prime as a bowler. In terms of one-day cricket, it was a rapid rise too. He was not a fixture before the 2015 World Cup having played eight ODIs from his debut in 2012 until the start of the 2014-15 season in New Zealand but is now one of the first names on the team sheet. He has only played two ODIs in England, but his returns in them were notable as they came during 2015 series which at the time was highest scoring five-match series. At Edgbaston and The Oval, where England made scores of 408 and 365, he returned combined figures of 6 for 108 from 20 overs before injury ended his tour.

Key stat
22: Boult was the joint-leading wicket-taker at the 2015 World Cup alongside Mitchell Starc
Andrew McGlashan

Tamim Iqbal

Age 28, Left-handed batsman: 5,385 runs at 33.24

Tamim Iqbal so often sets the tone for Bangladesh at the top of the order © AFP

Tamim Iqbal has been one of Bangladesh's pillars over the last ten years. And he goes in to bat when the challenge is at its highest - facing the new ball. He was a standout performer since the 2015 World Cup, making four of his eight ODI centuries during this period. He has been a consistent opening batsman, a rarity in Bangladesh until a few years ago. Tamim has set the standard for openers in Bangladesh, as selectors and scouts now look for solidity instead of only flamboyance. He has been quite good in the conditions he could encounter, scoring freely in Ireland during the preparatory tri-series competition. In 2010, he took Lord's by storm with a stunning century, and through form dips and highs, remained Bangladesh's flag-bearer opening the batting - a tough ask for many before him.

Key stat
Tamim is Bangladesh's leading run-getter in Tests and ODIs.
Mohammad Isam

Lakshan Sandakan

Age 25, Left-arm wrist-spinner: 5 ODI wickets at 51.40

Lakshan Sandakan has the variations to flummox batsmen © Associated Press

It is in the longer format that Lakshan Sandakan made his first impression in international cricket, the ball whirring out of his hand, then bursting in either direction off the pitch, while Sri Lanka whitewashed Australia in Tests at home. But as he arrives at his first global tournament as his team's lead spinner, even he might reflect that in ODIs, he has got the job by default - Rangana Herath having retired from the format, Sachithra Senanayake having been diminished since being reported for throwing, and Ajantha Mendis continually ailed by injury. Still, and though he lacks the control of the best limited-overs spinners, Sri Lanka hope Sandakan will become one of their primary wicket-takers during the tournament. Deployed in the middle overs, Sandakan's big turn and well-disguised googly have the potential to disrupt an opposition charge, and to break the match open for his team. Useful too are his two straighter deliveries, which are used less often. For now, Sandakan has largely prospered when more experienced bowlers are building pressure at the other end. The Champions Trophy may be his opportunity to seize greater responsibility.

Key stat
Sandakan is the first left-arm wristspinner to play for Sri Lanka, in any format.
Andrew Fidel Fernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nitin on June 1, 2017, 7:35 GMT

    I am just waiting for the Team India to play on this surface. I see at least 4 innings they will score 450+ runs against the other 7 mediocre team. Mark my word!

  •   badboycricfan on June 1, 2017, 6:31 GMT

    With 22 y.o Babar Azam the mainstay of batting and 25 y.o M. Aamir mainstay of bowling and 30 y.o Sarfaraz as an aggressive attacking captain hopefully Pak will build a solid ODI team with in next 2 years particularly with impressive bowler 22 y.o Hasan Ali and hopefully big hitting all-rounder 23 y.o Ashraf coming through the ranks... what PCB has to do is allow them to grow in their roles and be consistent with selections around these guys...

  • Saurav on June 1, 2017, 2:24 GMT

    This seems over-hyping and over projecting for Hardik PANDYA. Why should Shami be left for Pandya when latter cannot bowl even 2-3 overs out of his 10 overs quota? And why should Yuvi/Jadhav be left from Eleven for Luck based batting of Hardik PANDYA?

  • frankj5872380 on May 31, 2017, 20:09 GMT

    Australia's going to catch a proper hiding by the Proteas this tournament. Rabada and de kock are craving some ozzy scalps.

  • Ian on May 31, 2017, 18:47 GMT

    No Ben Stokes in the list...?

  • Vic on May 31, 2017, 10:09 GMT

    @naman, agreed QDK is serious, I made a statement about 3 years ago that he would be better than Gilchrist, so far so good.....

  • jan3325052621 on May 30, 2017, 16:02 GMT

    Indian putting bangladesh where it belongs. A win by 240 runs...massive. Bangla fans will have to wait some time before buying a trophy closet. This is what happens when you play top ICC teams. Well done India...Imagine if dhoni...kohli played. Wow

  •   Cricinfouser on May 30, 2017, 15:55 GMT

    It looks like a Bangladesh was saving there energy to beat Pakistan in up coming matches. India has a good package now others will notice after India vs Bangladesh match today.

  • malhar1424912 on May 30, 2017, 15:55 GMT

    I would remove root abcd abd and Williamson they are not the same class as smith and kohli.

  • kevhou1249308 on May 30, 2017, 15:47 GMT

    H Pandya is a must....he is great with the bat...can add fast valuable runs. if needed leave Rahane out for him.

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